Did Apple mess up with the Retina iPad mini?

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, 08:46
Category: Benchmark, Consumer Electronics, Features, Hardware, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, Opinion, The Apple Core

ret-ipad-mini-fanToday I broke down and bought one of the new Retina iPad minis. That is one of the dilemmas of living in a city with multiple, easy to get to Apple Stores. I’ve been watching the local stores’ inventories fluctuate using the Apple-Tracker web site, and noticed that there were several of the model I wanted in stock, so I ordered one for Personal Pickup and had it by this afternoon, which was rather impulsive considering I hadn’t spent any time with an iPad mini. One of the key factors of getting a new iPad was to upgrade to a Retina display, since I do a lot of reading on the iPad. Comparing some my iBooks between my iPad 2 and the iPad mini, there is a noticeable difference in the text, but so far I haven’t noticed the same difference in other graphics.

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Why the Mac (still) beats the PC

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 08:25
Category: Apple, Opinion

Christopher Laincz, Ph.D., is director of the LeBow Ph.D. Program at Drexel University, and associate professor in LeBow’s Department of Economics and International BusinessI’m publishing this guest blog by Dr. Christopher Laincz, because I couldn’t agree more with his opinions. If you don’t agree, be sure to read the pro-PC counter-point article by his colleague Mark Eyerly and sound off in the comments below.

I find myself in a strange town, and I want a cup of coffee. I see a Starbucks and some local dive. I choose Starbucks.

Here’s why: When you walk into Starbucks, you know exactly what you’re getting; and, they’ll customize it to your taste. If they make an error, they fix it immediately. I expect a good experience right from the start.

On the other hand, the local dive might prove great, but it might serve bug-infested sludge.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “risking a dollar or so on the local dive’s coffee is no big deal.” Sure. But when it comes to computers, it’s much riskier. You could easily spend $1,500 on some crappy PC. Perhaps for an extra $500, you could take home a (beautiful and better-designed) Mac with similar specs.

Why do I spend more on a Mac? Because Macs are better. In fact, the quality-adjusted price actually makes the Mac the better deal. PCs can be made in any Joe’s garage – and too frequently are – hence the hardware quality is a crapshoot. The Windows environment is fraught with holes and issues. Ever try to get service help for your PC? Ugh.

Furthermore, I do not need or appreciate my computer warning me at every turn about this risk or that issue. Just fix it, dammit! I’m busy with my own work. I don’t have time to invest in searching for the answers to every PC/Windows security or design flaw that crops up.

This isn’t a problem I encounter on my Mac. Apple takes care of maintenance and quality-control, so I am willing to pay for that. Buy a PC, and the maintenance and quality-control risks are on you. You may have paid less for the hardware up front, but over time you’ll pay with time, money and frustration to keep the thing functioning and not destroying your own tireless efforts.

Mac products stay way ahead of the Windows environment in terms of innovation and user-friendliness. I blame the PC/Windows marriage from hell.

The Justice Department brought an anti-trust suit against Microsoft for abusing its market power to kill off Netscape (which it did successfully). One of the punitive options in front of the Justice Department was to break Microsoft up into two companies: operating system (Windows) and software (MS Office).

Had the Justice Department gone with that option, the software would have been thrown into a more competitive environment. But it didn’t, and as a result the Office Suite has not evolved much.

Some complain that Apple excludes other products from seamless integration with its own. Sure, that may be true, but for me it isn’t a problem.

After falling in love with my 4-year-old MacBook Pro (which I’m using right now), I got a Mac desktop for my home, another for the office, and I just added the iPhone.

Digital bliss.

Christopher Laincz, Ph.D., is director of the LeBow Ph.D. Program at Drexel University, and associate professor in LeBow’s Department of Economics and International Business. He’s actually pretty down-to-earth for a Mac-toting academic.

Opinion: A New Personal Computing Paradigm

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, 07:50
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, Opinion

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By Robert Snow

How soon before most personal computing can be done with a phone? With a 64-bit iPhone, perhaps quite soon. Imagine the phone as your take everywhere computer:

“Never”, you say, the screen’s too small, even a phablet. When you need a better display, just pull out your touchscreen. It would look like an iPad or iPad Mini only thinner, lighter and cheaper. No CPU or storage. It would connect to your phone via Wi-fi and act as a display and touchscreen input device with a camera, microphone and speaker. It would be indistinguishable from an iPad, so long as your phone is nearby and turned on. Apple is almost there with AirPlay.

Let’s say you do a lot of writing, then you would have a screen with hinged keyboard and trackpad. It would look like a MacBook Air only thinner, lighter and cheaper. Again, no CPU or storage. iOS would recognize the device and work more like OS X. This would require some additional code for iOS. Call it “iOS X”. This would require 64 bits, no question.

Go to work where they have BYOD. On your desk, you would have a display, keyboard and mouse that looked just like an iMac. Again, iOS would need to recognize the larger display, keyboard and mouse and scale up. Imagine an iPhone 6s sporting a processor that is truly “Desktop Class”.

A future iPhone and iOS working this way could dominate the enterprise. Security would be awesome. Your desktop computer would cease to be a computer once you leave work with your phone. Laptop or tablet stolen, no security issues. Of course, the phone is secured by Touch ID and a new phone could be issued and restored from an online backup in no time. Only one computing and communications device per employee. Personal computing could not be more personal. No synchronizing devices. Minimal IT support. Lower cost.

Cloud storage and larger onboard memory would be key to this working.No more costs associated with deploying Microsoft Office or maintaining complicated desktop and laptop operating systems.There would still be a market for powerful desktop and laptop computers, but most employees would simply need a phone as their computer and some specialized input/output device mimicking a tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The phone would of course remain an expensive high-end phone. The upgrade cycle would be brilliant, keep your old IO devices and get a new desktop or laptop computer every two years by simply standing in line for the latest and greatest iPhone, subsidized by your carrier. Apple does make most of its profit on phones and this will sell more of them.

Sure, it would cannibalize iPad and Mac sales by growing a market for these IO devices and not just for the enterprise. Kids, grandparents and folks who just don’t need serious computing power could simplify their life by augmenting their colorful consumer phone with one of these devices. Consumer versions that are even cheaper and clad in plastic. If you need a phone right now, get a smart phone and you no longer need a camera, music player or GPS device. Get an iPhone in a year or two and you will no longer need a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer. Wearable computing, no problem. Dumb down iOS for a tiny screen and just a few buttons.

A post-PC world on steroids.

One more thing: Home entertainment and in-car entertainment.

Same paradigm and one more reason to buy an iPhone.

Opinion: Apple’s online store goes down like a sack of potatoes…so what’s the next step?

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 9th, 2012, 07:39
Category: Opinion, The Apple Core

If you have a good thing that people want, there’s going to be demand.

As such, during the next several hours after Apple’s launch of the third-generation iPad, the company’s online store suffered a catastrophic failure as a result of the impending traffic and transactions that came to its door.

As always, PowerPage head honcho Jason O’Grady had a few opinions to vent about the situation over at the Apple Core. The key point: under Steve Jobs, this wouldn’t have happened, especially to the most valuable technology company in the world.

Click the link, take a gander and have a killer Friday, you guys!

The Apple Core: Jason lends his thoughts on Apple’s education event and announcements

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 06:27
Category: Opinion

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Everyone’s got their theories and PowerPage head honcho Jason O’Grady has his own per Apple’s much-anticipated education announcement over at the Guggenheim in New York City today. With that in mind, kindly check out the Apple Core for his thoughts, ideas and notions as to what’s en route.

And if he’s totally wrong, he’ll buy each of you a puppy.

Opinion: Per Your iOS Devices, Be Careful Out There

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 11th, 2011, 05:23
Category: Announcement, iPad, Opinion

I should have seen this coming.

Last night, as I’d done half a dozen times before without incident, I sat outside the BloomBars art space in Washington, D.C. replying to email on my iPad 2, listening to an ancient Guns ‘n Roses song off the “Appetite for Destruction” album and feeling like everything was right with the world.

This morning, I just got off the phone with my insurance company and have now learned that my deductible is US$250 before they start covering anything that was stolen.



Which brings up what happened in between last night and today, wherein the person who snagged my iPad 2 directly out of my hands, quickly tore the headphones out of the jack, sprinted down a nearby alleyway and had a good 20-30 yards on me before I could stop looking surprised/silly and begin chasing after him.

Like anyone who’s been in this situation, I feel like an idiot. Yes, I’d hung out at this art space before and been surrounded by naught by kind-hearted hipsters looking to get stage time to work on a new song, poem, rap or stand up set and felt like I had no reason to worry. The iPad 2, which I’d worked hard for and spent part of my tax refund on, seemed secure in my hands, the earbuds in my ears only solidifying my sense of connection to the device.

Within seconds, the thing you love has been torn out of your hands by someone who seems to be really, really good at stealing things and getting an insurmountable head start on you as he sprints away with the item in question.

If there’s any advice to offer, it’s this: Be careful out there. iOS devices are hip, simple to walk away with, easy to reset, a cinch to resell and the only thing the person who snagged my iPad 2 needs to buy to make it completely functional is an iOS attachment capable (roughly US$19 from the Apple Store or Best Buy or less than US$10 from an Internet-based supplier depending on where he looks) and nothing else.

As far as things you can actually do in this situation, the following are never bad ideas:

- MobileMe may still be US$99 per year, but I’m beginning to see the attraction of it, especially if it allows the iPad to either have its location tracked or its memory wiped remotely. Look into this and it may be a good investment.

- I’ve just been informed that Find My iPhone is free and doesn’t require a MobileMe account (which is out of vogue given the iCloud transition). It’s free, Apple stands behind it and from now on, I’m installing this on every iOS device I’ll ever own and a killer setup video to answer your questions is available here.

- Change your critical passwords once you get home. Yes, you should probably feed the cat if you’ve been out all day, but change your Amazon, Netflix, Gmail, Yahoo and other passwords just to play it safe. Your iOS device was just stolen and you probably don’t feel great about yourself or what happened, but you never know who your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad will be handed off to and whether they’ll simply wipe it or jailbreak it to retrieve all the data/passwords/banking information they can find off of it. Change your passwords and watch your credit card statements over the next few days no matter what.

- Finally, give the cops all the information you can think of as to who you think stole your advice, their description and the moments leading up to the theft. In spite of everything that happened last night, I was able to flag down a cop within moments of the theft last night and they were able to find a person that had been in the thief’s group of friends only moments before my iPad 2 was stolen. Once the friend was identified, they brought in enough additional cops and a detective to compose the department’s softball team, so there’s something there and the situation doesn’t look as hopeless as it did an hour before.

The moral of the story: Enjoy your iOS devices, make the most of them and be careful, especially if you use an iPad 2 out in the open. A person should never have to live in fear, but exercise some caution (and some common sense, which seems to be lacking from my part) and you’ll probably be fine.

Now if you’ll excuse me, this homemade superhero costume won’t finish making itself…

The Rant: Because acoustic travesties are amazing

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 17th, 2011, 04:37
Category: Opinion

Over the past few days, friends have sent this along to both my Facebook and e-mail accounts, the messages expressing a certain disbelief that something this bad exists, much less that it just cracked the top 100 songs on the iTunes Music Store.

So under the rationale that this has caused me pain and torment and frustration with how bad it is, allow me to follow the PowerPage work ethic of passing the torment along to you:



Stepping back a bit, this is either a valid song or a viral-but-successful farce or both, but even so, I have to sympathize on some levels. Perhaps there is an actual musical effort being put forth here, an actual aspiring singer attempting to create a work, but it’s so heavily autotuned and overwrought with editing that this comes off as a modern day version of The Shaggs, wherein the effort attempts to soar and crashes directly into the mountainside with a resounding thud.

More specifically, here are the issues at hand with the video:
- The audio sounds autotuned to the point wherein the singer sounds like a mix of a GPS voice and Frances McDormand’s character from “Fargo”.

- There is, for some reason, a rap sequence in which an unknown rapper in his 30s or 40s is talking about not only enjoying the weekend for what it is, but apparently the joy of hanging out with the underage singer. And if this isn’t sort of creepy, then nothing is.

- Beyond the brain-damaging lyrics and amazingly saccharine content of the video, there seems to be the thought that the gloss/visual appeal of the video itself will save the day. This only compounds the train wreck as it unfolds in front of you, the train apparently having hopped the rails and now barreling towards the nitroglycerine plant, the old folks’ home and the petting zoo before tumbling off a cliff at the end of its path.

So what does this have to do with your Mac or iOS device outside of the fact that this song is available on the iTunes Store? Not a lot, but given that it’s become easier than ever to edit audio and video on your computer, there also comes the need to sit back and look over what you’re doing, especially prior to publishing it out on YouTube as an official video. And for Rebecca Black herself, who may or may not at this moment be wrangled by a team of ambitious parents, managers and public relations wonks, one has to hope that there’s an actual voice at the bottom of the pile of autotuning, especially if this is the very beginning of a career in music…

Thanks for listening to the rant and there’s free coffee and doughnuts in the corner.

Opinion: iPad – iWork (NOT)

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:55
Category: iPad, Opinion, Software

If you are planning on buying an iPad to be a portable editing device for your iWork content – think twice. The Apple Discussion boards are all aflutter with teachers and professors who hoped they could leave their laptops in the office and only take their new iPads to the lecture hall. This is not the case. Although Apple has branded the programs the same as the versions you can buy for your Mac , this is where the similarity ends. It’s like using Google Translation to convert a foreign web site into your language of choice, but worse. The two programs i was interested in were Pages and Keynote and they both corrupt files on import (once you can get them in – that’s another article). Formatting is lost in Pages so formulas and footnotes disappear in Keynote transitions and builds go away. It is not as if they are temporarily suspended while on the iPad they are gone so when and if you save back to your Mac they are no longer there.

My comment is, if you are calling it by the same name it should have the same display features. I can agree to editing and creative limitations on a mobile class device but display corruption is unacceptable. To me that’s synonymous with PDF’s looking different on different computing devices and operating systems, not what a PDF is supposed to be.

My biggest complaint is that Apple re-confiigured some of their standard fonts, and when you import a Keynote Presentation of simple Text and Paragraph builds everything is scrambled, mostly because replaced fonts don’t translate to the same font size constraints. I gave up looking for a way to reduce the font size so the text would fit on the slide and have gone back to my laptop to write this article. Now if you create on the iPad and leave it, there’s not a problem. I guess I got my hopes up, with iWork Beta working so seamlessly between cloud and desktop I figured the transition to iPad would be as painless. I was wrong!!

Look at the Samples Below and see if the change from Chalkboard to Chalkduster font would cause you sufficient grief to not make the transition.

Tales of Getting a MacBook Pro Battery Replaced

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 07:29
Category: battery, MacBook Pro, Opinion

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Blogger David Alison describes a process many of you have been through: going to an Apple Store with a nigh-dead MacBook Pro battery here and the details therein.

The piece also links to Apple’s terms as to which batteries are covered under an AppleCare plan, the company’s page on battery care and how to do a battery calibration via an Apple Knowledge Base article.

It’s a useful read, so give it a gander and if you have any MacBook Pro battery replacement stories of your own, please let us know.

Your Take on iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 19th, 2009, 18:20
Category: iPhone, Opinion

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We asked for your comments yesterday and several of you stepped up to the plate and offered what you thought about the newly-released iPhone OS 3.0.

So, without further ado, here we go:

In general its great!

No one has reported this to my knowledge, but if you have more than one iPhone connected to your MobilMe account and properly enabled, the Where is my iPhone feature shows all of them — a great family feature.

One omission — I can’t find a way to use Where is my iPhone from my iPhone! .. for example, if Dad loses his iPhone during vacation with Mom and the kids; they ought to be able to use their iPhones to log into MobileMe and activate Where is My iPhone to help locate it. However, on Safari if you go to me.com you are not allowed to login, they assume every feature is already available via an app.

Bill Elkus

Dear PowerPage-

Here are my thoughts on iPhone OS 3.0

Love:
Spotlight Search. It’s fast and was my top missing feature in iPhone 1 & 2.

CalDAV server support. Now I can have a joint google calendar for my family that I don’t need elaborate software on the mac with multiple user accounts running to accomplish.

Subscribed Calendars. Now I can have my wife’s iCal calendar visible.

Calendar sync through iTunes: In addition to my MobileMe push calendars I can view US Holidays or Birthdays without having to do any real workarounds (just check a box).

Improved Recents & Voicemail Display: The added line of telephone type or call origin is great (you used to have to tap the arrow to get this info.

Improved Call Log: Tap the arrow on a recent call and you get a list of time & duration (I’m curious how many calls it will keep track of though)

Podcast Chapters. (I don’t think this was there in 2.x, but not every podcast I like uses chapters.) Finally I can jump over the parts I’m not interested in without scrubbing.

Copy and Paste. Works great, is even available in old apps.

Push: I hope to love it but none of my apps are updated for it yet (NetNewsWire I am thinking of you).

Hate:
Search does not include mail body text. I know it would be difficult to include this because they want the ability to search the server past the 25 or 50 messages on my phone, but come on. At least include body text of messages stored on the phone.

CalDAV server setup. Why is this buried in Mail account setup? Once I found it it worked well for the main google calendar, but I really wanted all of my secondary calendars (kids, school, etc.) and that is a royal pain (thank god for copy and paste). I don’t know if it is Google’s setup or that CalDAV is only meant for single calendar support, but this is not for the feint of heart to attempt.

No universal inbox: It’s on my mac, why not an option on the phone.

Can’t manage mail folders. It’s still not a full mail app if I can’t create, edit or delete mail folders.

Can’t fully edit calendar events. Why can’t I change the calendar to which an event is associated? It’s easy on the mac.

Still no Podcast description field access. Please Apple, hardly any podcast puts info in the title, but almost everyone includes a nice description of the contents. Can I please have a way to see this?

Would like to see:
Spotlight third party search ability. It sounds like this is not an open API yet, it would be great if apps could add a spotlight ability, similar to the mac.

Spotlight search of music lyrics. Which song is that again? You know the one, it goes…

Spotlight search of video info. This one is a little strange, when i use the spotlight search screen to look for “pixar” I get nothing, when I search in the iPod, it finds all of the Pixar short films on the iPod as well as two playlists.

Sincerely,
Alex. Thompson
alexwt@mac.com

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